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Occupy America and how one camp worked well.

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posted on May, 13 2012 @ 08:56 PM
I'd like to take a few moments this evening to share my memories and photos of Occupy St. Louis as it appeared and functioned in October of last year. This isn't a representative image of every Occupy camp that existed then, and it isn't meant to be.

I bring to you what I experienced and how I came to be proud to stand with the Occupy movement for a brief time. It's almost impossible to explain to people now, how not every camp was a combat zone. Not every Occupy group, led by fighters and how not every Occupier is a Black Flag Anarchist or a Communist. St. Louis had those types there, to be sure. I met both and more. I can honestly say I met some of the best people I've known as well as some of the worst.

Let me open with my personal favorite and what we had to enjoy as a view, every evening from our Welcome Table and entrance to camp. (All the people are down at the Kitchen, which was serving dinner in the lower left)

Next, I took some time to create a couple maps, to show better just where we were there and how the physical layout existed in the fall. As one can see, the location couldn't possibly have been better (Or worse, by the city's thinking) for the timing.

And, close up to Kiener Plaza. Home of Occupy STL for Fall of 2011.

At this point, I'd like to take just a moment and explain a little about the layout above. The red line represents the unofficial line we claimed as our own area of responsibility. It was never looked upon as a border against outsiders, as some seemed to view this in other cities. Rather, it set the limits out to where Safety patrolled and took active roles in a problem, where trash and such was kept spotless (We worked the whole overall area, but focus was strongest in the box) and where we considered it to be a police issue and not ours, when non-Occupy people started trouble, unrelated to our camp.

The tents numbered around a dozen when most of these were taken. By the time I left, they numbered 3 times that, easily and were growing. What existed in the Plaza were the common areas for Kitchen, Media, Medical, Library and Storage tents. The outer ring at street level had the living areas.

The "C" area, or protest positions, were our 24/7 Outreach area. It wasn't quite 24hrs, but it was close for the people who chose to stand on that corner no matter what else was going on. I admired them most because I rarely saw them anywhere else. Rarely ever in camp itself and even the Kitchen usually sent things up to them rather than their leaving their vigil to come down. It consisted of nothing more confrontational than LARGE signs held, and always changing, for all the traffic to see. As one can see, the location was a traffic dream.

The main fountain shown in the Satellite shots was not running while we had the Plaza. Weather ...and fear of damage is what I'd guess were the factors. The fountain just to the East of our bordered area was running and in Red for the World Series. Series parties and events were on that side.

Here is a view from the parking structure on the North East corner of our humble home. It captures a slow moment and most of the camp was out on an action, as I recall.

(The area visible in the top extreme of the shot shows some of the living areas at street level)

The one was taken just prior to a "neighborhood" expansion and what would come to form a major area of Tent City. In a short time, the grass there was all but covered and tents to a few feet of the Plaza tiles. It was kept as clean as you see it there, however. Trash and neglect was something the camp simply didn't allow to build.

Bathroom facilities were supplied in part by local labor union support and in part by funding from within the camp itself. I wasn't the only one that put some measurable sums into camp and I never did learn who signed for 2 of the 3. Servicing was likewise handled internally for cost and came as needed. It was never a problem.

Of course, not everyone liked Occupy. Even our little corner of it. Nature just had to make her own protest a couple times....
I just labeled these photos "Drown-Rat" 1-3. I think it fit and the mood matched.

Much has also been made over the months about Occupy being hostile or even violent to people who would come and protest or seek debate right in the middle of camp. Well, I saw plenty of conflict......on Livestream. I didn't see any, even once, inside our camp. Here is a typical scene for an afternoon.

The gentleman in white and fiddling with his equipment was over from an Illinois University with a group to stage confrontation within the camp. I'm not guessing on that as I happened to be half in/half out of my Blazer parked on the street (just beyond the tents, in this scene) when he arrived. He stood up there and casually spoke to his assistant about what they were looking to capture and what sort of answers they needed to get for their piece. Apparently, being busy in a vehicle I clearly owned caused them to think I wasn't Occupy. lol... Ever wanted to be a fly on the wall? It was interesting to hear.

Despite that and after letting the rest of Safety and camp people know what I was audience to, the photo above is about how the day went. The Black gentlemen in the foreground was another person who came to see what we were about and debate if memory serves. It was welcomed, and that was a source of constant surprise as expressed by many who would come. They expected...?? Well, I'm not sure what. They found folks happy to debate whatever may be on their minds though, and entirely civil.

Last, but surely not least.....We were there to protest and, if forced, fight. No one in that camp was there under delusions of safety. However, all work and no play makes Occupiers downright ugly. We had a beautiful camp!

The folks gather and settle in for a night's entertainment

Some nights we had a band playing from the community. One particularly bad (Tense..for Safety reasons) night was made much better by a VERY talented group who volunteered for that evening as Fire Eaters. Anyone who've seen that done, know how impressive it is in a formal theater. It was incredible to see that kind of talent right in camp for us and the public to come and enjoy.

edit on 13-5-2012 by Wrabbit2000 because: Corrected Image Link

posted on May, 13 2012 @ 08:56 PM
After finally getting into some of my photo archives, those are the ones I believe best represent the experience. I wish I knew then what I do now about digital photography to produce professional level shots, but we all do what we can with what is available.

Some faces are clearly identifiable when many are as close, but not clear. This was done for the privacy of the members of Occupy STL. Those who are visible are among the public who walked into camp and by doing so, offered themselves into a plaza full of cameras. Those members who are seen are those who expressed no concerns to me about being in shots. There was nothing to hide, and the net has plenty of Youtubes of events in this same camp from people who had no such respect for privacy where people were literally living. Each to their own standards for that.

One final note before posting. I was a part of Occupy STL as an onsite member and volunteer to committees during a large part of October, 2011. I'd helped in other ways to the larger movement before and after my time there. All connection and official link to Occupy ended with the Fall Season. No direction connections exist now. Likely, never will again. I wanted to make sure this detail was out there and clear...lest anyone mistake me for speaking on their behalf. Also...All photos contained here, with the exception of the Google Sat-photos are my own....and I reserve the rights.

posted on May, 13 2012 @ 09:24 PM
During my last visit here in Nimbin, a man from the local Environment Center gave us a slide show one evening, of his visit to Zucotti Park. He more than amply demonstrated to us that Zucotti was an enormously positive, I could even say Utopian, experience.

Occupy has, unfortunately, become yet another example of the sad fact that due to the existence of the primary psychopaths, (Lobaczewski) and the degree to which they manage to control the opinions of non-psychopaths, there has been, and can be, no revolution that has not been, or will not be betrayed.

The psychopaths are not merely the main barrier to the Left, however. Capitalism could also be made into a workable system, if it were not for the craving for elitism of the psychopaths, and their incapacity for empathy.

I will link here, two books that I've recently re-read, by a man named Edward Bellamy, written in the 1880s.

Looking Backward.

They are about a scenario which he projected as existing in the Year 2000, which is based on a slightly technocratic interpretation of Christian Socialism. Think of a vaguely Christian, Steampunk version of The Venus Project. It's awesome.

It is a beautiful dream, but one which the psychopaths will never allow us to have. These books have caused me to really start to share the dreams that ANOK and some others here have; but tragically, I hold no illusions about them ever coming to pass in reality. The psychopaths will never yield their grasp.

It is the scorpion that pulls humanity down. If you are not yourself a scorpion, you still are unable to play every move of every game in the cooperation zone, because sooner or later you will meet a scorpion. Not every scorpion is a suicide bomber; the law partner who made a successful motion to cut my draw, forcing my resignation from a law firm, suffered the symbolic fate of the scorpion when the firm's biggest client (the one I alone knew how to service) left as a result, and the firm folded. Yeats' judgment that "things fall apart, the center cannot hold", because "the worst are full of passionate intensity" is a recognition of the fact that there are scorpions.

Scorpions may know the consequences, and not care, like the suicide bomber, or may, through vanity and denial, refuse to see the consequences, like my ex-partner. In any event, the effect is the same: a player defects when there is no reason to, and something--a life, an enterprise--ends as a result.

Game theory does not really take scorpions into account. It holds that people will defect because that is in their best interest--because the future has no shadow. Game theory fails as a tool when we are dealing with sociopathology or extreme denial. The human dilemma is that all progress ultimately fails or at least slides back, that anything once proven must be proven again a myriad of times, that there is nothing so well established that a fundamentalist (of any religion or stripe) cannot be found to deny it, and suffer the consequences, and then deny that he suffered the consequences.

All rivers begin in the human heart and, as I said recently in my Auschwitz essay, the human heart is infirm. The saddest saying I ever heard, "trees never grow into heaven", will be true for so long as we have scorpions.

-- The Scorpion
edit on 13-5-2012 by petrus4 because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 13 2012 @ 09:57 PM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

Thanks for taking the time to document and express your unique experience.

posted on May, 13 2012 @ 11:27 PM
reply to post by stanguilles7

I appreciate you dropping by and taking a look. The kind words are nice to hear. I've been meaning to get this together but something always seems to come up. I'm glad it's been interesting for folks to see.

posted on May, 14 2012 @ 04:36 AM
I don't have strong feelings about Occupy one way or another, but I have to say I really enjoyed reading this. In fact, I'd go so far as to say its one of the best threads Ive come across on ATS in some time. I don't understand why it only has 6 flags as of this writing and a handful of comments. It deserves more attention.

This is exactly the kind of info that is going to be valuable to historians and social scientists 5 or 10 or 100 years from now. Bravo.

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